Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Nigeria victims hail $15.5 million Shell payout

Agence France Presse : Victims of murder, torture and other abuses by Nigeria's former military government on Tuesday hailed a landmark out-of-court settlement with Royal Dutch Shell over its alleged complicity in the crimes. Shell agreed on Monday in New York to pay out 15.5 million dollars (10.7 million euros) to relatives of Nigerian writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and others executed in 1995 in what plaintiffs said was a campaign of repression backed by the oil giant. The settlement brings to an end a long battle by the Nigerian victims and means that Shell avoids a potentially embarrassing court case while having to accept no actual wrongdoing.
Saro-Wiwa had led a non-violent campaign to protest environmental destruction and abuses against the Ogoni people in the Niger Delta before he was hanged along with other activists after his trial in a military court. "We welcome the 15.5 million dollars compensation for the illegal killings of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the other eight Ogoni leaders," Bariara Kpalap, spokesman for the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), told AFP.
But Kpalap insisted Shell must still address the issue of environmental pollution and change the way it does business in the oil-rich Niger Delta, where farmers and fishermen are being driven off.
For details of the case and the settlement click here.

6 comments:

Tamaku said...

Ken Saro-Wiwa, we will never forget you. Good to see these significant financial penalties being imposed.

Anengiyefa said...

Hi Tamaku,

It was sensible for the families to take the money after such a long time of waiting. Going through with the court case could have netted them more money in the end, but there was always the potential for lengthy and expensive appeals that could lead to even more long years of waiting.

Shell too was smart. They included in the settlement the provision that they are not guilty of wrongdoing. Some very happy lawyers in the process. lol

RocNaija said...

I don't get it..
Shell didn't kill Saro-Wiwa.. Abacha did.. no?
Or am I just ignorant?

Shell might have payed out to avoid the bad press that would have inevitably accompanied a messy trial, but does that mean they're guilty?

Anengiyefa said...

@RocNaija, well, the evidence against Shell was that they were actually involved in the violent represssion of MOSOP, providing logistic support in the form of helicopters, boat transport etc to the Nigerian authorities, in this case, the Nigerian Mobile Police. Much of the repressive action taken by the Nigerian government was in direct response to requests by Shell. There is evidence in the public domain of letters written by Shell to the Nigerian government requesting that action be taken to suppress dissenters. I will post a helpful link..

CodLiverOil said...

The Nigerian government have their hands covered in blood over this affair. Yet no one is saying anything about it, why?

Why is the government not facing legal action?

Time and time again the government are found wanting. In Kano they were guilty of complicity, by not following their rules for drug testing.

What is the use of a government, if they don't care for the people in any way whatsoever?

It will be interesting to see if the overall amount paid to the Ogoni will result in the improvement in the well-being of the overall population in Ogoniland.

Anengiyefa said...

@CodLiverOil, of the settlement money $10 million goes to the 10 plaintiffs and $5 million is to be gifted to the Ogoni people.

Now putting into perspective the fact that $15.5 million is what Shell earns in 5 hours, you can see that what has been given to the Ogoni people is a pittance and will not achieve much, especially after the money has been divided up by those at the top. The Ogoni too are after all Nigerians. And the culture of unjust enrichment that is all-pervasive in Nigeira applies to them as well.